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Old 03-21-2015, 09:09 AM   #1
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Restoring exterior teak rails

A question about stripping teak.

I've started stripping the old teak rails and saloon doors with a heat gun and scraper. It works well but it doesn't come completely off. I then started sanding to get off the remaining patches.

As I sand (80 grit) the dust gets into the teak and colours it so its difficult to see when I've removed the last bits of varnish. I want to sand as little as possible so would like to know when to stop.

What is the best way to then clean the teak before the new finish goes on?

Does anyone have advice to give me on this? I'll be starting this seriously in May when I go back for 8 days.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:15 AM   #2
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These photos mat help.Name:  ImageUploadedByTrawler Forum1426943502.174935.jpg
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
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Are you open to getting better sanding equipment that removes the dust? I use a Mirka Ceros and Abranet with a Fein Turbo II but the cost of that setup is substantial. I assume that there are lesser ROS + dust extraction setups that might be sufficient.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:24 AM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. jb. I've found that blowing off the scraped and sanded teak with air usually clears the sanding dust from the pores/grooves in the wood. I can appreciate you want to remove as little wood as possible as your last picture shows a fair amount of the rail already gone. Wiping with acetone or another solvent (xylol, lacquer thinner or alcohol) and blowing with air between wipes will help with sanding residue removal. So, scrape, sand, blow, wipe, blow, wipe... PLEASE wear eye protection!

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Old 03-21-2015, 09:26 AM   #5
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You need to use a teak cleaner...

To get rid of the light tan oxidized color. After that sand with 220 and then start varnishing. You can sand the oxidized wood off, but you will sand a lot of wood off that way. A good teak cleaner will take all the wood back to a uniform color.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:47 AM   #6
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I used pure tung oil....still good after 5 to 6 months...when I get home from the trip...will add a few more coats with nothing more than a wash.

I refuse to ever varnish or strip again...better things to do with my time. The wash and tung oil application will take less than a couple hours for hand rails, trim and doors. Following coats should take about an hour plus apiece.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:59 AM   #7
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Those rails are so bad I'd pressure wash them before doing any sanding. Sure it will raise the grain, but who cares, you have lots of sanding to do either way. And pressure washing will get more of the old embedded finish out of the grain faster than sanding. Then start with 80 grit, 120 then 220.

Wipe the wood down with clean microfiber rags as you go so you can see your progress. Just before you start to apply your finish wipe the wood down with lots of clean microfiber towels and alcohol.

What type of finish do you intend to put on the wood?
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:52 AM   #8
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Try a "hook scraper". I like the 1-1/2" Red Devil or Hyde blades but make my own wood handle about 12" long. Get some narrower ones too for tighter places. Depending on the type of finish you are removing, scraping can be much quicker than sanding and leaves a surface ready for new finish. Your neighbors will like it too. Have someone show you how to resharpen and re-hook the blade and you can do a whole job w/ one blade. Don't think a blade twice as wide will work twice as fast, it won't, b/c you can't put enough psi on a wide blade.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:53 PM   #9
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My teak looked at least as bad as that pictured. My procedure:
Scrape as much as possible with or without heat gun,
Sand lightly with 80 grit to smooth and even out the wood,
Clean with teak cleaner (available at West Marine),
Wash with Teal Brightener, gets the grey out,
Sand with 120,
Wipe down with mineral spirits,
Sand with 220,
Wipe with mineral spirits,
Wipe with tack cloth,
1st coat of varnish, Epiphanes in my case, thinned 50%,
Repeat sand with 220, wipe, wipe, varnish 4 coats,
Then sand with 220 to smooth,
Sand with 320, wipe, wipe, varnish for at least 4 more coats.
Looks pretty good when done.
Refinishing teak is a Zen thing, be one with the wood, 😊
And remember to have fun.
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Old 03-21-2015, 01:15 PM   #10
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I'm sure your dock neighbors will love you if you start blowing the sanding dust all around as recommended above. I would think that a vacuum would be much more neighbor-friendly. I'd also be careful of pressure washing due to loss of teak material.

I've been advised to use a heat gun and scraper, followed by chemical stripper if needed to get the hard-to-reach areas, then sanding with 80-150 grit.

Here are some helpful link/videos.

3 Ways to Strip Teak





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Old 03-21-2015, 01:57 PM   #11
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All this leads me to the conclusion that bright work belongs in a boat not on it. I told that to my boat builder and you know what he refused to make the rails in anything but varnished wood. Since the boat is under cover I have lived with it for two years but if I had to go through what the OP is doing paint would be my next step. I am a boater who gets my kicks from using the boat not varnishing it. there are others who live in the opposite camp and get their enjoyment on their knees sanding and varnishing and I love to walk down the dock and admire the finished product. Just saying maybe you should consider two part paint good for 10+ years.
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:08 PM   #12
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I'd have to say I agree with you, Ed. I like the look, but not the work. I tolerate the work since the boating life is a series of compromises. High on my list of "unwanteds" on my ideal boat list was exterior brightwork. But then I found a boat with too many "wanteds" to overlook, so I reluctantly accepted the varnished teak.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:06 PM   #13
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Making the "hook" on a scraper blade is fairly easy. Sharpen the blade of the scraper to a fine edge with a file. Then using a burnishing tool or round screwdriver shaft roll the sharp edge over to form the hook. The hook will not last a real long time so you will have to do this fairly often. The difference in ease of use and the smoothness of the scraped wood between a properly hooked scraper edge and one that is just sharp but not hooked is night and day.

In Japan it's my understanding that wood refinishers only use scrapers for the most part to smooth wood before finishing. And I think you can see how that could be once you start using properly hooked scrapers. They can peal off wood like a planer and leave a very smooth finish.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:25 PM   #14
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I attended a seminar today at the Defever rendezvous in Palm Beach. The advice was never to use anything coarser than 120 or 150. The coarser the paper, they said, the deeper the grooves you're cutting and the more you have to sand to return to perfectly smooth. If you're a member of the Defever forum, there are several guys who have done a lot of teak work who can share their techniques.
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
Making the "hook" on a scraper blade is fairly easy. Sharpen the blade of the scraper to a fine edge with a file. Then using a burnishing tool or round screwdriver shaft roll the sharp edge over to form the hook. The hook will not last a real long time so you will have to do this fairly often. The difference in ease of use and the smoothness of the scraped wood between a properly hooked scraper edge and one that is just sharp but not hooked is night and day.

In Japan it's my understanding that wood refinishers only use scrapers for the most part to smooth wood before finishing. And I think you can see how that could be once you start using properly hooked scrapers. They can peal off wood like a planer and leave a very smooth finish.
It works!
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:55 PM   #16
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Rub em down good, clean and paint them suckers with Rustoleum. Check on them after 2 coats 4 years later. In the 4 year interm use the hell out of the boat, then recoat....in other words, screw it and enjoy.
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:59 PM   #17
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Rub em down good, clean and paint them suckers with Rustoleum. Check on them after 2 coats 4 years later. In the 4 year interm use the hell out of the boat, then recoat....in other words, screw it and enjoy.

Hey Mule, can you post a couple pictures of them. I don't have any cap rails but a couple other pieces of exterior wood trim I've been thinking of doing exactly that with.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:05 PM   #18
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Hey Mule, can you post a couple pictures of them. I don't have any cap rails but a couple other pieces of exterior wood trim I've been thinking of doing exactly that with.
Ditto! Would love to see pics of the Mule boat...Rustoleum and all.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:30 PM   #19
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Ok guys, I been needing to do this for a long time. Ya got me semi motivated. I will try to fit it in between OTDE arguing I gotta use the I pad side of the site...ouch...
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:30 PM   #20
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Rub em down good, clean and paint them suckers with Rustoleum. Check on them after 2 coats 4 years later. In the 4 year interm use the hell out of the boat, then recoat....in other words, screw it and enjoy.
I'll tell ya, one of the best looking trawlers I've seen was a small IG where they had stripped the rails and trim down and painted a light to perhaps medium gray. With what appeared to be a two part poly. The interesting thing is that they did not sand the wood down smooth. They left the grain stand proud a bit so you saw it through the finish. It lessened the plastic look of the paint that you would have gotten if the wood had been filled and sanded completely smooth.

For whatever reason that combination just look real nice to me.
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